I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for furry little animals that need a home. Whether it is a dog’s tail wagging happily as she takes me for a walk (yes, you read that correctly, takes me!), or if it is the soothing sound of a cat purring as he lays beside me on the sofa, I am a pushover for these friendly creatures that God put on this earth. I guess you could say the real testament to my love for animals would be the fact that I currently have three cats, a dog, a rabbit, and two pygmy goats. There’s just something unexplainably wonderful about a four-legged animal that snuggles up against me and loves me unconditionally, no matter what.

It was just a couple of years ago that my youngest cat came to live with us. I adopted this particular cat when he was barely even weaned from his mother. The previous owner could not support all of the kittens in the litter and decided to go ahead and give them away to the first homes they could find. Just as you suspected, I was one of the first to respond. There was something about this particular kitten’s face that said, “You need me and I need you.” Pretty convincing, since we now have each other!

When we first got this cat, he would climb up the side of everything (even humans!), just like a monkey. And so, the name stuck. “Monkey,” as we affectionately call him, has essentially decided that I am his mother. He presses his head up against my hand, unwilling to back away. He purrs continuously, and like most people, thoroughly enjoys a full body massage. Still, there is one thing that he does not like. He does not like the moment when I must resume my daily responsibilities and leave his company. The moment I walk away from him, he is crushed. I’m telling you the truth! Every time, without fail, he howls in sadness that our “playtime” has ended for now. He just can’t bear the thought of being apart from me, even for a moment. The very notion of being out of my sight is heartbreaking for him.

This evening, as we concluded our daily routine of him pushing against me and me giving him a massage, he howled as I left his sight, just as he had so many times before. As I walked away and listened to his sorrowful cries, I thought of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and just how much He is grieved when one of His children leaves His embrace. Amazingly, though, Jesus continues to love us, whether we acknowledge Him or not. If we spend time with Him, He loves us. And in those times when we’re just “too busy” and do not have time for Him, Jesus Christ never once stops loving us.

Think about it. Jesus Christ loves you and me unconditionally. That means He loves us, no questions asked. He loves every single person on this planet: parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. He loves the drug addict, the alcoholic, the murderer. Jesus Christ does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, Jesus Christ loves you. When you are running late for work and do not have time to say, “Good morning, Lord,” Jesus still loves you without fail. If you spend your evening watching television, leaving no time for reading His Word, He still loves you. Even if you have gone astray, whether for days, months, or years, Jesus loves you unconditionally, as though you had never even left His side. God’s Word says that there is not one thing in God’s Creation that “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39 ESV). Nothing can come between you and the perfect love of Jesus.

Just like my cat named Monkey, Jesus Christ longs for us to stay at His side, so that we can live a life of true joy that is only found in Him. He loves hearing the voice of His children. He loves embracing us in His fatherly arms. He longs to have us hold his hand as we journey down the road of life, just as a child would hold the hand of their father. Why? Because we are loved by the One who forgives our sins, forgets our past, and forever loves each of us with a fervent, absolute love that has no end.

In Christ’s Love,